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March 2013

RECOMMENDATIONS from The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY In The Age of The Internet

The previous post on ASK Harriete shared the lecture  "The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY In The Age of The Internet." Watch the complete PowerPoint lecture with recorded audio on ASK Harriete or directly on SlideShare.


The lecture includes four

Use tutorials and instructional materials for what they were intended….. your personal use.  

Do not copy or distribute tutorials or instructional materials unless you wrote the content.

Do not sell or exhibit work  derived from tutorials, workshops, or books.

Be more specific about how books, tutorials and information are to be used ethically and legally. 


In future posts I will discuss each recommendation individually, but I what to be sure that everyone has an opportunity to watch this lecture as it evaluates the good of the internet, some bad trends, and a few really ugly behaviors that threaten the healthy growth of crafts.

The question is:
Do you  think these recommendation reasonable?

Do you think your local arts guild or national organization would support these recommendations?

What would you add? or subtract?

The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY in the Age of the Internet

On March 14, I gave the keynote address for Synergy 3, the International Polymer Clay Association Annual Conference.     Watch this presentation from YouTube. Sit back with a cup of tea or coffee to watch the full 45 minutes of entertaining and provocative observations concluding with four recommendations for the arts and crafts community.  When I gave this lecture half the audience was in shock!  The other half of the audience gave me a standing ovation. What do you think>

PLEASE COMMENT if possible.  This presentation tackles an issue that affects both aspiring and established makers and artists and needs to be shared, circulated, and discussed throughout the arts and crafts community. 

If willing, you can easily embed this presentation in your website or blog directly from YouTube .



Find the full text and RECOMMENDATIONS in this lecture at:

RECOMMENDATIONS from The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY In The Age of The Internet

Depending on the reactions, some future posts on ASK Harriete will expand on the topics raised.  Contact me privately through the email link in the left column of ASK Harriete or leave a COMMENT.


PDS Preview with Andy, Brigitte, Harriete "Cash Cow, Sacred Cow, Purple Cow"

Today is a special treat. The Professional Development Seminar Committee including Andy Cooperman, Brigitte Martin and myself, Harriete Estel Berman will offer insight into our upcoming program titled:
"Cash Cow, Sacred Cow, Purple Cow".

BlogtalkradioJay Whaley Metalsmith Benchtalk will be our host and ask the difficult questions.

Why did we target the PDS program on such an unusual topic? First I was inspired by the Seth Godin lecture "How to get your ideas to spread" and Joseph Pine lecture What consumers want.  Please watch this catch up.

The issue for everyone reading this blog is that we can not continue doing the same thing from the past 20+ years and expect different results. The internet, telephone technology, tablet devices, and distribution has changed everything including the marketing art and craft. As Seth Godin says, Your work needs to be remarkable....that is "worth making a remark about".

There are lots of ways to

go about making

yourself remarkable.

Find out how as we dip into this fabulous topic.

Tips for Your Essential Studio Shots

Every artist and maker needs to update their profile shots and studio images once in a while.
Usually once a year, I dedicate the better part of a day to new studio shots and it is time to do this again.  I need to be ready in advance for a request for a studio shot.

Who will take the photos? Ask a friend that likes to take photos. Ask an art student that wants to practice with their camera or build their portfolio. Maybe you will meet someone that wants to trade for your artwork. Ask your son or daughter. 

Here are a few tips.

  • Always wear extra make-up, it never shows in the photo.
  • Never wear a black shirt. If you do the artist always ends up looking like a floating head in the photo.
  • Connect with the camera. Project positive feelings and energy. (I know that sounds silly but it works.)
  • Chin down just a little.
  • Take photos on a good day....a "bad day" always shows in your face.
  • Plan on using the time of day with the best light in your studio.
  • Make sure you have extra white foam core to bounce light.
  • Take serious working shots and experiments.
  • Take images of your studio with and without the artist.
  • Publish only the best photos, and not all at once.
  • Take process shots during every major artwork. Book authors and blog writers love to include the in progress shots and the finished artwork.

Harriete Estel Berman working in the studio on a Tu Bishvat Seder Plate in her studio

Here is a great tutorial that might help improve your lighting.

This tutorial shows how to use Photoshop for a more flattering image. "Smooth Operator: Make More Flattering Portraits"

I'll be on Jay Whaley blog talk radio with Andy Cooperman and Brigitte Martin on Thursday, 3:00 PST (6:00 East Coast). We will be talking about the upcoming Professional Development Seminar topic titled: Cash Cow, Sacred Cow, Purple Cow with lots of inspiring ideas for artists and makers. This program will take place during the upcoming SNAG Conference and is inspired by the Seth Godin Lecture How to Get Your Ideas to Spread.

Have you scene my studio online. And some people wonder where I get all my tin cans....just junk places, and resale shops. Some games (like the one below) are really great gifts but must be terrible games because I see them all the time.
Have you scene the studio of Harriete Estel Berman

Time, Effort, Knowledge, Recognition, Appreciation

Alarm-clock-red-time-FOR-taxesTax time is upon us which is always the time we evaluate the financial success for the previous year. But with this economy, trying to make and sell art or craft with a profit is challenging.

The I.R.S. applies multiple criteria for evaluating whether your art or craft is a "hobby" or a "business."  Without any doubt, an artist or maker has to take the accounting side of the "art business" seriously. The I.R.S. expects detailed records that reflect a business-like approach, but there is sometimes a kind of gray area.

The gray area in their evaluation criteria is characterized more by words than numbers.  The words "time, effort, knowledge, recognition and appreciation" may be the difference between defining your art or craft as a "business" or a "hobby" in the eyes of the I.R.S.

Lets look at the words:

Do you regularly invest time? Do you work regularly and frequently? A half day per week activity, e.g. Sunday afternoon, does not appear to qualify as a business-like approach.

Is it evident that you apply substantial effort? The amount of effort involved should be VERY CLEAR evidence whether the artist/maker intends to make a profit or just enjoy an occasional activity.

Do you have the knowledge from experience or education? Your education and training can be further evidence that you have the knowledge to be a professional in your field. Education certificates or degrees, professional acknowledgments, and experience needed to perform the art activity at an advanced level may differentiate it from a hobby.

Harriete Estel Berman standing in front of her  artwork on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Artshe MaIs your work recognized as professional? The I.R.S. could not define my art business as a "hobby" (even when my business lost money) because my professional profile fit most of the criteria. Establishing yourself as a recognized expert in the field is the definition of a professional.

The word "appreciation" is critical here. It is evident that my art work "appreciates" or increases in value. This is further evidence of an expectation to make a future profit in the appreciation of assets (my artwork).

So make sure that you "act" like a business in every way with detailed accounting, separate bank account, and perfect record keeping. In addition, keep detailed records with documentation of your professional efforts to make money and gain exposure. 

Art and Craft March Toward April Taxes

DollargrASK Harriete has written many posts about business accounting, taxes and compliance with the I.R.S. standards on several occasions.

In honor of this time of year when you may be
preparing for the April 15 tax deadline here are links to posts on the topic:

She Sells Wholesale. She Sells Retail. Is She Selling Wholesale at Retail?

Avoid the Red Flag of IRS Form 1099

TAX TIME, Tick Tock, The Tax Clock is Ticking

Video Workshops from the I.R.S. - Am I a Business or a Hobby? - OR - Make Your Business More Business-like!

I.R.S. sign

Morning Heartburn with the I.R.S.

Surviving an I.R.S. audit - Avoid Problems and Penalties - A Final Word.

Surviving an I.R.S. audit - Withdrawing Inventory Items for Personal Use? Very scary!

Surviving an I.R.S. audit - Is Your Travel for Business or Leisure?

Surviving an I.R.S. audit - What Is an Acceptable Receipt for a Business Expense?

Surviving an I.R.S. audit - Cost of Goods SOLD and Jail House Orange - A Fashion Accessory Nightmare

Surviving an I.R.S. audit - What Is Included in the Cost of Finished Good besides your best guess?

Surviving the I.R.S. - Cost of Goods Sold, Are you ready? Watch my head explode!

Surviving an I.R.S. audit - No change!

My morning coffee with the I.R.S. MAN - Tips to prevent or smooth your audit with the I.R.S.

REFERENCES to Keynote Lecture Synergy 3: The Good, BAD and the UGLY in the Age of the Internet

Today I gave my Keynote Lecture for the International Polymer Clay Association annual conference Synergy 3. The lecture title is: TheGoodBadUglyTransINTERNET72

This lecture will be published on ASK Harriete as a SlideShare PowerPoint with recorded audio. Subscribe to ASK Harriete so you will be notified of the publication.

Here is the HANDOUT Good-BAD-UGLY-Handout-References (PDF) to download or use the  individual links below. The references are mentioned in the order of appearance in the lecture.

Behind THE scenes FOR the Good Bad UglyIMAGE: Clint Eastwood, Leone and Eli Wallach on the set of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY    1966.




EXtREME closeup and full viewIMAGE of extreme close-up and wide angle view is a signature voice of the director Sergio Leone.

The LongTail by Chris AndersonBOOK: The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.
ASK Harriete describes “the Long Tail” in a post titled, "Long Tail - Blockbuster versus Netflix, and the art/craft world. "


Reference to Michael Jordan found  in the online article  “Best Advice: Down But Not Out” by Peter Guber

Mindset-The New Psychology of SuccessCarol-DweckBOOK: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success  by Carol Dwek






Regretsy websiteQUOTE from April Winchell found on in the Business section:  “Regretsy closes, the world mourns the end of DIY meets WTF”


Talent is OverratedBOOK:  Talent is Overrated  by Geoff Colvin






Outliers by Malcolm GladwellBOOK:  Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell






Risky is the New SafeBOOK:  Risky is the New Safe by Randy Gage





Polymer Art Archive


ASK Harriete

PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES for the artists and crafts community

ImaginecreativityBOOK:  IMAGINE: How Creativity Works  by Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer lecture for the Knight Foundation:  “Jonah Lehrer earns $20,000 honorarium for talking about plagiarism at Knight lunch”  (Scroll down to find the lecture. He actually starts talking at about 53 minutes into the video, so move the scroll bar into the lecture.)

Transcript for Jonah Lehrer lecture titled:  “My Apology” by Jonah Lehrer


CREATIVEcommonsWEBSITE: Creative Commons Licenses 


UStrademarkOFFICEWEBSITE: U.S. Trademark and Patent Office

Combination3 Links

ORIGINAL DRAWINGS for the lecture by Aryn Shelander 

TRUST COLOR drawing by Aryn Shelander5




P.S. Links to the books and movie DVDs are provided for your convenience as affiliate links.

Related articles:

Blue And White Tears

Have you ever thought that maybe it could be a good thing that you haven't sold some of your best work? By holding onto your finest artwork....perhaps the right collector or an important exhibition will come along. 

I never consider any of my exhibition work as "old" inventory.  I don't even call it "inventory" (except to the I.R.S.).  

Boston Chinese Tea Teapot from recycled tin cans printed with Blue and White ceramic patterns
Boston Chinese Tea    2005        Harriete Estel Berman

Here is one story and revelation:

Several years ago a "collector" purchased one of my favorite teapot sculptures, "Boston Chinese Tea".  I was thrilled. This one piece sold for enough to keep me out of the "red zone" in my accounting for several months.

Boston Chinese Tea Teapot in Blue and White by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans.  B
Read more about Boston Chinese Tea teapot here.

An artist always hopes that their work goes to a good home.  I also had the name and contact information of the collector to keep track of my work so that it could be loaned for an exhibition if invited.

Boston Chinese Tea Teapot Handle from recycled tin cans by Harriete Estel Berman

In early 2012, curator Emily Zilber from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston wanted to borrow Boston Chinese Tea for an upcoming show at the museum based on Chinese blue and white porcelain.

Boston Chinese Tea Teapot detail constructed from recycled tin cans by Harriete Estel Berman

Unfortunately, no matter how hard we both tried (along with some other people) to contact the collector, in every which way we could, the collector would not reply to the letters and emails.

My heart is broken weeping blue and white tears as the exhibition has opened at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and it looks magnificent. What an honor it would have been to participate in this show. It is very disappointing that my teapot could not be included.

Boston Chinese Tea Teapot by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin Cans.OUTdetail

Go to the Museum of Fine Arts website for a look at some of the work in the show. There are a few images from the show titled, NEW BLUE AND WHITE.

If you are lucky enough to visit or live near Boston, the show is up until July 14, 2013.

New-Blue-White at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

New-Blue-White LINK to the video by curator Emily ZilberXTo the left is an image, CLICK on it to go to the website, there is a link to an excellent video with Emily Zilber, Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she discusses some of the work in the exhibition. It is definitely worth watching this short video.

Price your best work high enough to make it worth selling.

Always get the complete contact information of the collectors who buy your work.

Keeping your best work for an important exhibition may be key for building visibility and your professional reputation.

Know the value of your work even if it doesn't sell.

Value is not always determined by whether a piece sells.

P.S. There is more to say about this issue including the shocked look of the I.R.S. auditor. Stay tuned.  

Innovative and Fresh Display From Europe

In this post, I am thrilled to share images of booth display taken by Linda Savineau at "Sieraad", a yearly jewelry show in Amsterdam.   Linda was following the ASK Harriete series on innovative window display as ideas for booth design and offered to take these photos to share with the viewers of ASK Harriete. 

Linda Savineau lives in Aartselaar, Belgium. "Sieraad", a yearly show in Amsterdam held during the first week of November. "Sieraad" means "jewel" (in Dutch). She says, "It's a really good show, mostly European jewellers."

Unfortunately, we a missing a few names for the artists' work in the display, so if you know the work, or the show, please let me know.

Display by Anna Häggström & Rob Grootenboers
Presently called SMID/Stockholm
Photo taken by Linda Savineau


Display by Anna Häggström & Rob Grootenboers 
Presently called SMID/Stockholm
Photo taken by Linda Savineau


Photo taken by Linda Savineau


Silvi Dupont (Belgium)         Photo taken by Linda Savineau


Gu Weng & friends (China)     Photo taken by Linda Savineau


Photo taken by Linda Savineau


Alchimia (Italy)                       Photo taken by Linda Savineau


British Collective                    Photo taken by Linda Savineau


British Collective                Photo taken by Linda Savineau

Effective "Framing" For the Best Show Ever!

Hi Harriete,
I followed your advice about "framing" in my booth after reading the post Sticker Shock or A Real Bargain - It's All Relative To Framing. I extended my affordable line of yarn bowls and made a more expensive one.

I showed it at a show last weekend!"

"And the show was a great success!" 


"My best show ever!
I sold 82 yarn bowls including my framing piece."

"Thanks for the info on framing pieces! 
Next year I'll make 2 or 3."


Harriete response:


Good going on developing your niche market. Fantastic!  Now why only 2 or 3 framing pieces? Why wait till next year?

Your framing peices can perform multiple functions. This more special work will get you into better juried shows, and can help sell your work online as well. This higher end work can also develop into a more expensive and popular line generating more profit. And finally, the framing work will help create a more evolved artistic voice for your work and reputation as a maker. 

Perhaps a framing piece for every show is in your future?

Creativity and the Brain

Chuck-Close-48126_largeChuck Close said," Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work."

Listen to a fascinating conversation about creativity on Charlie Rose Series about creativity with artists Richard Serra & Chuck Close; neurologist Oliver Sacks; Ann Temkin, Chief Curator of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art; and Eric Kandel of Columbia University.

Learn about the physical and psychological basis of creativity. I listened to this program over and over. Unfortunately it is no longer available online. 

Talent is OverratedAnd for those of you wondering about how to find success, consider reading the book  Talent is Overrated by George Colvin. It ties right into the quote from Chuck Close at the top of this post.

Do You Thrill on Easy? Or Thrive On Hard?

Mindset: The New Psychology of Successl-DweckIn the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, she discusses the comparison of the fixed mindset and the growth mindset and how they contribute to success. I highly recommend reading this book.

Her website is very informative with several articles offering a sample of the content from her book.

The issue for every artist and maker is that your mindset can affect your creativity.

Have you considered whether you are a growth mindset or a closed mindset? Don't kid yourself? Be honest. Are you excited about the challenge? Test Your Mindset on Carol Dweck's website.

Push Yourself Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Berman from post consumer recycled materialsA principle of the growth mindset is that people thrive when being challenged.

"When do people with the fixed mindset thrive? When things are safely within their grasp. If things get too challenging-- when they're not feeling smart or talented---they loose interest."

Here is an example of the growth mindset from the book:

"Not long ago I was interested to read about Marina Semyonova, a great Russian dancer and teacher, who devised a novel way of selecting her students. It was a clever test for mindset. As a former student tells it, "Her students first have to survive a trial period while she watches to see how you react to praise and to correction. Those more responsive to the correction are deemed worthy.""

"In other word, she separates the ones who get their thrill from what's easy--what they've already mastered--from those who get their thrill from what's hard."

There are many other examples in the book of people who choose challenges.  They prefer to work on projects that necessitate learning new skills  instead of producing variations of previous work based on already developed skills. These are the individuals with the growth mindset. One way or another, they ultimately push themselves into new horizons.

What does this have to do with the arts and crafts community?  Too often formulas are offered promising a path to creativity. While I don't believe there is any formula to guarantee creativity, we can teach ourselves to focus on a growth mindset. Learn more about these skills in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Are you a student of life ready for a challenge?

"Image File Names Improve SEO"

Today's post is about "Image File Names for Better SEO" (Search Engine Optimization). Effective file names are essential for artists and makers who want others to find their images on line. A few simple techniques can improve visibility for your work.  Here is an SlideShare presentation about naming files. 

The video will automatically forward the images with the original audio recording.  Just click on the "PLAY" arrow. 

REVIEW for Image File Names:

Use REALWords
    (No numerical code from your camera or computer.)

Use Keywords
that describe your image.

Use hypens -  betweeen words.

Avoid capital letters.

Let me know what you think of this presentation or this format, or tell me how to make this better. I just learned how to convert PowerPoint to video with a recorded audio file by listening to Making Video from PowerPoint Presentations.


4 TIPS to Improve Search for Your Images

Know your digital image file extensions and how to use them?

Best sizes for images and what format?

How to "name" your digital image files for distribution.


Know your digital image file extensions and how to use them? - See more at: